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Supply chain implications for one-off luxury products: cases from the yacht industry

Simone Ponticelli (University of Pisa, Department of Energy, Systems, Land and Constructions Engineering, Pisa, Italy)
Valeria Mininno (University of Pisa, Department of Energy, Systems, Land and Constructions Engineering, Pisa, Italy)
Riccardo Dulmin (University of Pisa, Department of Energy, Systems, Land and Constructions Engineering, Pisa, Italy)
Davide Aloini (Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction Engineering, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 15 November 2013

1592

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to investigate the applicability of strategic supply chain management (SCM) models in one-off luxury contexts such as the yacht industry, where durable products are manufactured with project configuration.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was assessed in order to identify contingency-based SCM models. Then, multiple case-study analysis was performed to explore how these models are adopted in practice for drawing strategic SCM directions. Data arose from a number of interviews to the top-management of four world-leading yacht-building companies.

Findings

The findings of explorative case studies suggest the implementation of various strategic SCM strategies in order to fit the requirements of the market (e.g. protect critical resources, implement a customized leagile production strategy, enhance SC flexibility). In this direction, specific SCM practices are already adopted by investigated firms.

Research limitations/implications

A call to develop specific strategic directions for project-based luxury business is suggested, as the SC contingencies of this context have not been properly caught by extant literature.

Practical implications

A set of practical indications are offered in order to support managers in the choice of an appropriate SCM approach and related operational practices. Identified techniques and tools aim to achieve high customisation while reducing changes in specification.

Originality/value

This article represents a first attempt to investigate the SCM issue for durable luxury products in the project context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the “1st International Workshop on Luxury Retail, Operations and Supply Chain Management” in Milan. The authors wish to thank the Guest Editor as well as the two anonymous reviewers for the valuable comments and suggestions provided during the review process of this paper.

Citation

Ponticelli, S., Mininno, V., Dulmin, R. and Aloini, D. (2013), "Supply chain implications for one-off luxury products: cases from the yacht industry", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 41 No. 11/12, pp. 1008-1029. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-01-2013-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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